the approach of winter
Not that it has been especially cold, but I have had the heating on here for a few weeks now. I just love walking around with toasty warm feet, the joys of underfloor heating! The sun still shines bright, but the evenings are decidedly cooler, so heating ever more important.
Today has been a day of rest (for me at least!) from the olive harvest and so time to catch up on indoor chores – I still have mountains of leaves to rake up but they can wait a day or two!
This afternoon I joined friends at a local farmers’ produce market, wonderful healthy looking vegetables, several cheeses including a pecorino laced with truffles, and a couple who have restored an old watermill and are now grinding corn and other grains producing a fabulous range of flours, they will be in my store cupboard. Being a bit of a glutton I ended up by the wood oven feasting off fresh home made pitta style bread liberally doused with new olive oil, sheer ambrosia. As I drove home to check on Edo who is still weak, the drive was a delight, the autumn foliage intense, the sun sparkling on the newly ploughed fields and that special autumnal light that intensifies as the sun begins to set.
This evening I went to the boiler house to check on the wood and pellet biomass boiler that great leviathan that heats the house to discover that whilst it is working perfectly the display on the control panel has all but vanished… I cannot read a thing, the display is too faint. Evidently they are not using Kindle E Ink!
At least the house is good and warm, but I have added to my “to do” email list to write for a repair or replacement to Gilles in Austria the boiler manufacturers – new potential customers beware!
Now my thoughts turn back to nicer things and the Quince Jam I am in the process of making. Whilst quinces are not my all time favourite fruit they have the most heavenly aroma and make delicious jam. I am using a new recipe from a friend here in the valley, co-incidentally the quinces or melacotogne as they are called here in Italy were a gift from her, and as I write the sitting room is filled with the perfume of quinces bubbling on the stove next door in my kitchen, I had best go and attend to them, I want to adapt the recipe and reduce the cooking liquor to further intensify the strength, and maybe add some nutmeg too??
Tomorrow we head off to the Frantoio to press our olives. The olives look good but for us the quantity of olives is down this year, still there will be enough for our cooking needs for the year and to have some bottles for sale for you guys to take home as gifts or souvenirs which is all I require. I am joining my olives with friends from here in Valdichiascio, neither of us use chemicals or pesticides, the trees grow naturally and going to what for me is a new frantoio. The olives will be pressed at an old fashioned traditional mill using actual stone grindwheel and wooden separators as seen in the photographs of the post this summer on the tour of the Abbazia of Montelabate. I cannot wait until tomorrow evening to light the fire and sample bruschetta drizzled with Bellaugello virgin olive oil 2012